This is a debut novel in a projected series of three. Genre/period: a fantasy novel set in a mediaeval type world - don't let that put you off, there's no strange thee/thou anachronistic language, jarring juxtapositions or monsters and dragons. Eleanor's a feisty character who's determined to become an Assassin against the odds. The storyline revolves around her with an appropriate level of detail and urgency as she pushes forward. Twists and turns aplenty - this isn't poor quality derivative writing but storytelling of high quality focussed on someone you want to know and you're in the thick of it there with her. Be prepared to read it in one sitting - it's that nail biting and absorbing.
I don't normally read fiction much. This book may change that, I'm eargerly awaiting the next in the series. I wouldn't mind if Rachel did a Christopher Paolini and made the trilogy into a longer series. It is pacy and, as mentioned by others, has a curious unputdownable quality. It is also the first book I have read as a Kindle edition. I'm hooked on both Eleanor (my youngest daughter's name too) and Kindles. Buy this in traditional or Kindle and enjoy a great read.
Although Fantasy is not a genre I am fond of I was impressed with the writing and the way that Rachel has created a whole fantasy world in this first novel in the trilogy the Chronicles of Charanthe. It is a strange world but through the protagonist Eleanor you will be able to step into this world where children are taken away from their parents at birth to be educated. Upon graduation the students are awarded lifetime job assignments, but Eleanor's posting is not the dream job she had always hoped for. The job offered to her is one she feels far below her abilities so she decides to reject the offer. This is where her problems begin as suddenly free for the first time in her life, she recalls the legends which tell of a secret society of elite assassins, who live outside the laws of the Empire and who may or may not truly exist.
As she seeks out the truth she has many adventures, of which if you are not a fan of this genre may seem incredibly far fetched, as she cheats, steals and kills her way to succeed. I coped as I liked the way the author portrayed her characters and it was a fast paced read. I did however find the descriptions of weaponry, fighting and even torture a little too much at times, but this was a personal issue and other readers probably love all this fast paced action.
If you are a fan of this genre or someone that likes to stretch their comfort reading zone from time to time than I recommend you try the work of this talented young author. I will also admit that I am looking forward to reading Revolution, which is published today 11.11.11, to see how the story progresses and the characters develop.
I have just finished reading Rachel Cotterill first book in the series: Chronicles of Charanthe and the First Book is REBELLION .
I have been waiting to read this book for several years after I knew Rachel was writing it, and it was everything I had hoped for and far more!
The author was able to build up a real working world that you feel there. Fully in her world, it is not just the descriptions of the world around her character Eleanor but details as types of food and cultures that she has created a living world for the reader to step into and join Eleanor as she leaves school to start on a life full of adventure.
Wanting to leave the comforts of a government school and a job already selected for her, Eleanor has her hart set upon becoming an Assassin which is not the sort of thing a nice young girl should even know about let alone dream of becoming!
As the book progresses you feel that you grow up with Eleanor as she makes her way through life.
So without giving any more away all I can say is that this is a must read, and I am personally looking forward to the next in the series.
Rebellion, the first in Rachel Cotterill's Charanthe trilogy, hooks the reader in from the first page - has Laban been misinformed about this young girl, Eleanor? Is she really made of the stuff assassins are made of?
In this bildungroman novel, we grow with Eleanor as she rejects her lowly assigned role as a peace keeper, then tries to follow her dream of attending assassin's school, if it really exists.
Although a fantasy novel, there is no wizardry and witchcraft. Instead Rachel has crafted a thoroughly believable alternative world, without all our "mod cons", but with hand to hand combat, and primitive, but deadly weapons.
The range of characters will make you empathise with some, and rail against others, the art of a true storyteller.
I find myself wondering how Eleanor is progressing, and can't wait to read volume two.
This is an original debut novel, a fantasy story that creates a living, breathing world that is almost tangible. Unlike the majority of fantasy novels there is no magic or fantastic beasts in Charanthe but a fascinating culture that is believable and absorbing. I found myself impatient to get through the pages to find out what would happen to the main character - Eleanor - in her attempt to be accepted into the the assasins' school and I look forward to learning more about both her and the society in which she lives in Rachel's future works.
I am a huge fan of fantasy and science fiction, and very difficult to please; so I am delighted to say I found this an excellent first novel. It compares very favourably with well known writers of the genre. Within a few pages I became interested in and cared about what happened to Eleanor, who's a good, strong female lead.
The detailis excellent, and the writing is very good; the author has obviously done meticulous research over the more action based elements of the story. The plot has plenty of twists and turns which keep your mind active. Most importantly - Rachel tells a good tale!
I am really looking forward to finding out what happens to Eleanor and Daniel - and also learning more about the Charanthe Empire and the world beyond it, in the next book.
"Rebellion" is a well-written adventure book with a strong female lead. It is classified as fantasy, since the story takes place in an alternative world with quasi-medieval weaponry, houses, ships, and other aspects of people's livelihood. On the other hand, the empire of Charanthe is more orderly than a typical fantasy empire. For example, all children are taken from their parents as babies and raised in schools, where their skills and attitudes are constantly observed in order to determine the best future job for everyone. Initially I was under the impression that "Rebellion" was a science fiction story, since such surveillance is more common in fictional societies with the technological means to secure it -- but that was before the sailing ships and other fantasy elements appeared.
Eleanor is a strong character and many of her adventures are fun to read. The story is not always what it seems to be, and does not always go where the reader would expect it to go. The author has a few surprises up her sleeve, so the story is never boring. Besides, Rachel is a very good word-crafter. She has a knack for creating scenes that make her reader feel as if he or she is inside the story instead of reading it.
A word of warning, though (and a minor spoiler alert): not all of Eleanor's adventures are fun. There is a detailed torture sequence in this book. Also, the heroine, while likable because of her resourcefulness and strong character, is not likable in other aspects. Sometimes she is too headstrong and egoistical. She can also kill, steal, and cheat without giving it too much thought. This is a fantasy book about assassins, and characters who are neither "good" nor "bad" can be interesting, but still I would have preferred Eleanor to question her own deeds, together with their rightness, wrongness, or worthiness more often and more closely. Eleanor has potential, so I am expecting her to grow out of the "it is all right to do anything because I want something" attitude in later books.
I very much appreciated the way the author approached gender in this book. Except where she hinted of romance, she treated both women and men (or rather, girls and boys, since most of the important characters are young) as just people. She did not focus on their gender. The characters had personalities, dreams, skills, flaws, redeeming qualities -- all of this as people, rather than women or men. This is a breath of fresh air compared to some fantasy books where the authors present their characters as led predominantly by their biology.
I am looking forward to reading "Revolution," which is the next in the series.